Deal?

The Brexit story was enriched by a new episode this week: a draft of the deal being renegotiated by David Cameron and Donald Tusk has gone public. Obviously, it has been intensely debated. Paul De Grauwe, on both Social Europe and EUROPP, offers a brief but exhaustive analysis of each point of the deal. He observes that no concession is substantial and the whole deal is mainly an exercise in keeping up appearances. He then concludes by claiming that rather than pretending to have achieved a true reform, Cameron should advocate that staying in the EU is good for Britain. Robert Colvile, on Politico, maintains that while this is not the deal that Cameron promised, it might still be the best one he could get. The Wilson’s strategy of indicting a referendum presenting some minor concessions as a stunning diplomatic victory seems to be working. However, it is still a huge gamble, given the many variables which can go wrong, and the costs of losing the game. Nick Pearce, on openDemocracy, tries to unveil an alternative vision of the UK, advocated by euroskepticists: a union of all Anglophone countries. This “anglosphere” functions as an imaginary horizon for a eurosceptic worldview of Britain after Brexit. While this is clearly an ideological view, those campaigning for staying within the EU should be wary of focusing too much on the risks of Brexit, and highlight the benefits of Britain’s future in the European Union instead.

Banking the crisis

On Bruegel, Pia Hüttl and Dirk Schoenmakera focus on the question of whether countries currently outside of the banking union should join it. They observe that the main stance is to wait and see how the banking union develops, before committing to an institutional framework that might constrain their choices. While conceding that such countries might preserve the sovereignty over their banking system by remaining outside, the authors’ idea is that joining the program would substantially benefit them, thanks to an integrated approach towards supervision and resolution, which would provide a stable arrangement for managing financial stability. Thomas Fazi, on Social Europe, takes a closer look at the banking union, and challenges the scientific consensus that it is, as it stands, a positive development. In fact, Hadjiemmanuil of the London School of Economics writes in a comprehensive paper on the topic – and it is widely agreed that “even in its current incomplete form, [the banking union] is the single biggest structural policy success of the EU since the start of the financial crisis”. Contrary to this, Fazi argues that it is the latest step in the path of austerity and asymmetric adjustment, which could potentially damage the EMU’s project by exacerbating core-periphery imbalances and even increase the risk of banking crises.

Principles or solutions?

The debate on the refugee crisis is focusing more and more on the necessity for a choral European response. Kenan Malik, on The Guardian, observes that the migrant crisis locked Europe in a dilemma: currently, any immigration policy will either be morally right or it will enjoy popular consensus. He argues that while the realists’ view is not only immoral, but also unworkable, the idealistic approach is no more workable nor moral. However, this lack of popular consensus is not a hard fact, and it might change in the future. If one wants to do so, however, the debate needs to be extended and reframed in order to encompass the political problems of voicelessness and disengagement. On The Economist, two articles (#1 & #2) support the more hopeful position that the European people can support reasonably moral immigration politics. However, now the priority must be to restore a sense of order to the migration flows, in order to reassure worried citizens. The generous acceptance of refugees should be coupled with the rejection of economic migrants, serious border controls, and humanitarian help abroad.

Greece and the EU

On The Guardian, Paul Mason observes that the issue of immigration is reigniting the political tension between the EU and Greece. A conservative estimate is that 1 million of migrants are coming in the EU next year, and many of them are going to pass through Greece, straining its resources. Megan Greene, on Politico, argues that this factor would pile up on the economic difficulties of the Greeks. While a compromise between Greece’s need for financial relief, and Europe’s need for border control might benefit everybody, a rekindling of the old political struggle is a far more likely outcome.


This Ideas Monitor is by Giulia Bistagnino and Carlo Burelli


Photo Credits CC: Roel Wijnants

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